B-176844, MAR 15, 1973

B-176844: Mar 15, 1973

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT PROHIBITED RETESTING WAS PERFORMED FOR SOME OF THE OFFERORS. NOR DOES IT INDICATE THAT ANYTHING OF SUBSTANCE WAS GAINED BY THE INAPPROPRIATE POSSESSION BY ANOTHER OFFEROR OF A REPORT WHICH CONTAINED CERTAIN PROPRIETARY INFORMATION OF ITT/AOD. CONNER & CUNEO: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 14. IS A TWO-STEP NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT FOR A QUANTITY OF UHF AM TRANSCEIVERS TO BE USED FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS. THE SUBMISSION DATE FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WAS EXTENDED FROM NOVEMBER 19. WAS DETERMINED TO HAVE MET THE SPECIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE RFP. AWARD OF THE CONTRACT IS BEING WITHHELD PENDING RESOLUTION OF THIS PROTEST. NO RETESTING OF THE FEASIBILITY MODEL WILL BE PERMITTED.

B-176844, MAR 15, 1973

BID PROTEST - PROHIBITED RETESTING - INAPPROPRIATE POSSESSION OF PROPRIETARY INFORMATION DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF ITT AEROSPACE OPTICAL DIVISION (ITT/AOD) AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER FIRM UNDER A RFP ISSUED BY THE OKLAHOMA CITY AIR MATERIAL AREA, TINKER AFB, OK., FOR UHF AM TRANSCEIVERS. THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT PROHIBITED RETESTING WAS PERFORMED FOR SOME OF THE OFFERORS, NOR DOES IT INDICATE THAT ANYTHING OF SUBSTANCE WAS GAINED BY THE INAPPROPRIATE POSSESSION BY ANOTHER OFFEROR OF A REPORT WHICH CONTAINED CERTAIN PROPRIETARY INFORMATION OF ITT/AOD.

TO SELLERS, CONNER & CUNEO:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 14, 1972, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF ITT AEROSPACE OPTICAL DIVISION (ITT/AOD), AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER FIRM UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. F34601-72-R-1098, ISSUED BY HEADQUARTERS, OKLAHOMA CITY AIR MATERIEL AREA (OCAMA), DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE.

THE SUBJECT SOLICITATION, ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1971, IS A TWO-STEP NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT FOR A QUANTITY OF UHF AM TRANSCEIVERS TO BE USED FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS. THE SUBMISSION DATE FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WAS EXTENDED FROM NOVEMBER 19, 1971, TO MARCH 21, 1972. MARCH 20, ITT/AOD SUBMITTED ITS FEASIBILITY MODEL TO OCAMA FOR TESTING AND, AS A RESULT THEREOF, WAS DETERMINED TO HAVE MET THE SPECIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE RFP. AFTER DISCUSSIONS WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, ITT/AOD SUBMITTED ITS BEST AND FINAL OFFER ON AUGUST 16, 1972. AWARD OF THE CONTRACT IS BEING WITHHELD PENDING RESOLUTION OF THIS PROTEST.

THE FIRST BASIS OF ITT/AOD'S PROTEST CONCERNS FEASIBILITY MODEL TESTING AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPHS 1.3.1 AND 1.3.1.2 OF AMENDMENT NO. 1. THOSE PARAGRAPHS READ AS FOLLOWS:

1.3.1. FEASIBILITY MODEL DISQUALIFICATION. FAILURE OF THE FEASIBILITY MODEL TO SATISFACTORILY DEMONSTRATE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF ANY ONE OF THE TESTS SPECIFIED HEREIN SHALL BE CAUSE FOR DISQUALIFICATION.

1.3.1.2 FEASIBILITY MODEL TESTING. NO RETESTING OF THE FEASIBILITY MODEL WILL BE PERMITTED. HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT WILL MEASURE EACH FAILED PARAMETER A SECOND TIME AFTER VERIFICATION OF PROPER FUNCTIONING OF THE FEASIBILITY MODEL AND TEST HOOKUP. NO DESIGN MODIFICATION OR ADDITIONAL ADJUSTMENTS OF THE FAILED UNIT FROM THE SUBMITTED DESIGN AND INITIAL SETUP ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE TEST WILL BE PERMITTED. REPLACEMENT OF A FAILED COMPONENT PART WITH AN IDENTICAL REPLACEMENT PART AND ANY ADJUSTMENT REQUIRED THEREFROM TO RETURN THE UNIT TO THE INITIAL TEST SETUP PERFORMANCE WILL BE PERMITTED.

ITT/AOD MAINTAINS THAT THE TWO OTHER OFFERORS, COLLINS RADIO COMPANY (COLLINS) AND RCA, ENCOUNTERED DIFFICULTY IN THE TESTING OF THEIR FEASIBILITY MODELS AND THAT RETESTING, PRECLUDED BY 1.3.1.2 ABOVE, WAS PERFORMED. IT IS CONCLUDED THEREFORE THAT THESE OFFERORS SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FROM FURTHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROCUREMENT. THE AIR FORCE CONTENDS, HOWEVER, THAT ALL THREE OFFERORS PASSED THE FEASIBILITY MODEL TESTING WITH NO RETESTING REQUIRED. WE HAVE EXAMINED THE TEST LOGS ON THE TESTING OF THE COLLINS, ITT/AOD AND RCA FEASIBILITY MODELS, AND WE FIND NOTHING THEREIN WHICH WOULD INDICATE THAT A RETEST WAS PERFORMED ON ANY OF THE THREE FEASIBILITY MODELS. ITT/AOD ALSO CONTENDS THAT THE TESTING OF THE COLLINS FEASIBILITY MODEL LASTED 10 DAYS WHILE THE TESTING OF ITS MODEL ONLY REQUIRED APPROXIMATELY 3 1/2 DAYS, THUS INDICATING THAT SERIOUS PROBLEMS WERE ENCOUNTERED DURING THE COLLINS TESTING. THE CHRONOLOGY OF TESTING SHOWS THE FOLLOWING ELAPSED TEST TIMES:

ITT/AOD 16.5 HOURS

RCA 24 HOURS

COLLINS 13.5 HOURS

BASED ON THE FOREGOING, WE CANNOT SAY THAT THE ELAPSED TESTING TIMES ARE INDICATIVE OF TEST PROBLEMS AS TO A PARTICULAR FEASIBILITY MODEL.

SECONDLY, ITT/AOD CONTENDS THAT ITS COMPETITIVE POSITION WAS DAMAGED AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCUREMENT COMPROMISED BY AN INCIDENT AT OCAMA WHEREIN CERTAIN CONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARY INFORMATION WAS EXPOSED TO A REPRESENTATIVE OF COLLINS. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT DURING THE FEASIBILITY TESTING OF THE COLLINS TRANSCEIVER, A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT COVERING TEST PROCEDURES AND TEST DATA ON THE AN/GRC 168 RADIO - A CURRENT INVENTORY ITEM - WAS TAKEN BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF COLLINS FROM THE TEST ROOM. UNDERSTAND THAT THE TEST REPORT WAS USED AT THE FEASIBILITY TEST OF THE COLLINS MODEL AS A REFERENCE DOCUMENT BY OCAMA TEST PERSONNEL. THE GOVERNMENT REPORT CONSISTS OF 76 PAGES OF WHICH TWO-THIRDS ARE TEST PROCEDURES AND CONFIGURATIONS AND THE REMAINING ONE THIRD CONSISTS OF COLUMNS OF NUMBERS WHICH CONSTITUTE THE TEST RESULTS. THE SUMMARY OF THE INCIDENT SUPPLIED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE AIR FORCE READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

DETAILS ON THE *** (CONTRACT REPRESENTATIVE) INCIDENT HAVE BEEN REVIEWED AND IT IS OBVIOUS THAT *** (HE) HAD POSSESSION OF THE AN/GRC 168 TEST REPORT BUT A FEW MINUTES AT THE MOST WHEN NOT UNDER SURVEILLANCE OF AIR FORCE PERSONNEL.

WHEN *** (THE REPRESENTATIVE) AND THE COLLINS ENGINEERS LEFT THE LABORATORY THEY WERE ACCOMPANIED BY ONE OF THE AIR FORCE ENGINEERS WHO WAS EXPLAINING WHERE THEY MIGHT GET LUNCH. THIS AIR FORCE ENGINEER WAS CALLED BACK TO THE LABORATORY AND UPON BEING INFORMED THAT *** (HE) MAY HAVE TAKEN THE TEST REPORT, IMMEDIATELY HURRIED OUT OF THE BUILDING AND CALLED TO *** (THE REPRESENTATIVE) WHO WAS GOING TOWARD HIS CAR. WHEN HE (THE AIR FORCE ENGINEER) REACHED *** (THE REPRESENTATIVE), HE ASKED FOR THE RETURN OF THE TEST REPORT. *** (THE REPRESENTATIVE) TOOK THE DOCUMENT OUT OF HIS BRIEF CASE AND HANDED IT OVER.

IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM THE FOREGOING THAT *** (THE REPRESENTATIVE) HAD NOT BEEN ABLE TO READ, MUCH LESS STUDY (OR COPY) THE TEST REPORT.

IT WOULD APPEAR FROM THE FOREGOING, THAT NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE WAS GAINED FROM THE INAPPROPRIATE POSSESSION OF THE REPORT BY THE COLLINS REPRESENTATIVE. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT SUFFICIENT BASIS EXISTS FOR EXCLUDING COLLINS FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE PROCUREMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST OF ITT/AOD IS DENIED.